Using Evernote for Prayer

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Posted by Scott Sterner on

In the wake of preaching on prayer a few weeks ago, the Lord is continuing to challenge me in my deep need for Him expressed through a praying life. Based on my personality, I often find that I flourish by establishing new systems by which I can form new patterns. In this post I will share how I have begun adapting the free program and smart-phone application Evernote to manage my prayer life. This system is adapted from Paul Miller's system of using prayer cards in A Praying Life.

Why is Evernote great for managing prayer requests?

  • You can always access your requests from any computer or smart phone at any time by either downloading the application or accessing the web-based version
  • The application on your phone is easy to manage, making it easy to pray on the go
  • You can easily sort and organize requests within the program
  • It can be password protected
  • It's free… as long as you don't use a lot of data space by uploading pictures

Using "Notebooks" to Categorize Prayer

In Evernote, you use notebooks like drawers in a filing cabinet. In my system I have broad categories followed by narrower categories for each notebook (i.e. PRAYER: Family, PRAYER: Nations). See the pictures below for some of the categories I am using.

(An image from the notebooks section on my computer application)
Prayer Notebooks


Using "Notes" for Each Specific Prayer Request


There are multiple advantages of using an individual person and/or request for every note.

  • It's easy to sort (i.e. if you put last name followed by first, you can quickly sort your way to the note you are looking for)
  • It's easy to update. You can easily delete and/or update individual prayer requests without having to open and edit a long text list.
  • It's easy to pray on the go. If you are praying from a smart phone, you can open the notebook and quickly pray for requests without ever having to open up a note.

(An image from the notes section on my computer application)
Prayer Notes


What's inside?

  • On each note, I add the name or focus of prayer, followed by an overall prayer for that person.
  • Within the note I add a scripture associated with that prayer. This helps me to pray scripture over the person, both helping me to stay centered on the Gospel and even use my prayer time as an opportunity to meditate on the Word.
  • Below the scripture are additional, more detailed prayer requests.

(The content in one of my specific prayer request notes)

Prayer Specific Note

(A couple of images of the app within my iPhone)

Prayer Notebooks iPhone  Prayer Notes iPhone

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Tags: evernote, prayer

Christmas 2012 at The Vine

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Posted by Scott Sterner on

On December 16, 23 & 24 we are having a three-part series focusing on three important Christmas messages.

  • Message 1: The Anticipation of The King
  • Message 2: The Lineage of The King
  • Message 3: The Birth of The King

Please join us, and invite a friend, as we explore what the Bible has to teach us about the meaning behind the Christmas holiday! Services are Sunday at 10 am and the Christmas Eve service will be 6:30 pm. For both the 23rd and 24th there will be child-care provided for children 24 months and under.

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Tags: christmas, madison wisconsin

Marriage, Sex and Singleness

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Posted by Scott Sterner on

This Sunday, November 11 we begin a new five week series at The Vine on marriage, sex, and singleness. Come join us as we learn revolutionary truths from an ancient text. 

  • Week 1: The Purpose of Marriage
  • Week 2: The Sacrifice of Marriage
  • Week 3: Communication and Conflict in Marriage
  • Week 4: Singleness to the Glory of God
  • Week 5: Sex in Marriage

Whether your single or married, this series will be an encouragement to your relationship with God and others.

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Tags: marriage, sex, singleness

Hospitality and the Great Commission

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Our core values as a church are gospel, community, and mission.  David Mathis (elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis) wrote a fantastic study on hospitality, which is an expression of all three of our core values:

Christian hospitality makes room for fellow believers and global gospel carriers, but the note we’re striking here is the evangelistic one — inviting in the outsider, welcoming unbelievers into our space, in hopes of bringing Jesus into theirs.

The reason this is no minor biblical theme is because the streams of hospitality flow deeply from the well of God. Christians love the stranger, because we have been loved by the Father when we ourselves were strangers. Hospitality rises in its purest form when we heed Paul’s counsel, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

In Jesus, we find ourselves now to be the enemy who has been loved, the sinner who is saved, the stranger who is welcomed. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And welcomed strangers should be quick to learn to welcome other strangers.

Our love for outsiders runs deep as it flows from remembering ourselves to be outsiders who have been dearly loved by a lavishly hospitable God.

Read the rest.

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How small churches like the Vine can support missions

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

The Vine Church of Madison may seem small and insignificant by the worldly standards we might use, however we can still be impactful in sharing the good news of Jesus sacrificial death and resurrection, even without the numerous resources that very large churches have.

Matthew Spandler-Davison (pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church in Bardstown, Kentucky) has some thoughts on how small churches can be used greatly by God to aid the spiritually sick and needy:

  1. Preach the gospel—"When confronted with the fact that many are born in places where the gospel has never been preached, God's people are challenged to respond."
  2. Pray for the nations—"Pray for the nations during worship. Pray an informed prayer."
  3. Develop partnerships—"Commit to an international partnership… [c]onsider partnering with other congregations in your area to adopt a people group together."
  4. Provide opportunities—"[C]onsider going, but go as a partner to the workers already there and humbly respond to their direction. Strive to work with trusted missionaries and agencies."

Read more.

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Ten Questions to Diagnose the Evangelistic Health of Your Church

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Dr. Thom Rainer has some good questions to ask ourselves as a church as we work to share the good news of Jesus with the world around us:

  1. Are members more concerned about the lost than their own preferences and comfort? Listen to how church members talk to understand what their true priorities are.
  2. Is the church led to pray for lost persons? Most churches are pretty good about praying for those who have physical needs. But do they pray for those who have the greatest spiritual need, a relationship with Jesus Christ?
  3. Are the members of the church open to reaching people who don’t look or act like them? The gospel breaks all racial, ethnic, and language barriers. Do the members seek to reach others? Do they rejoice when these people become a part of the church?
  4. Do conflicts and critics zap the evangelistic energy of the church? An evangelistic church is a united church. A divided church is rarely evangelistic.
  5. Do small groups and Sunday school classes seek to reach lost persons within their groups? Sunday school was once one of the most effective evangelistic tools in the church. Are the groups in your church evangelistic?
  6. Is the leadership of the church evangelistic? The congregation will follow and emulate the priorities of the church leadership.
  7. Do the sermons regularly communicate the gospel? They may not be evangelistic sermons in the classic sense, but all sermons should point people to Jesus.
  8. Are there ministries in the church that encourage members to be involved in evangelistic outreach and lifestyle? You may be surprised to find how many members become evangelistic with a modest amount of training and equipping.
  9. Have programs become ends in themselves rather than means to reach people?Perhaps a total ministry and program audit is in order.
  10. Is there any process of accountability for members to be more evangelistic? That which is rewarded and expected becomes the priority of the congregation.

Read more.

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Including the kids in our city groups

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Logan Gentry (pastor at Apostles Church in New York City) has some suggestions for how to better intregate our kids into the city group gatherings:

Many of our small groups apparently believe children get in the way of adults seeking to be in community and on mission. To be fair, no small group model communicates so explicitly, but when children aren't included in the number for the community group, it unintentionally conveys their lack of importance. We know Jesus welcomes children as valuable to God. The Book of Acts speaks of entire households participating in this new gospel faith in Christ and describes church life happening in believers' homes. The scriptures never explicitly speak of children in these communities, but we can still deduce that God views children as a blessing and the primary mission field for parents. So a gospel-centered community on mission embraces the view that children should be included and seen as members of the community in need of becoming disciple-making disciples.

Some models he provides for including children:

  1. Everyone takes turns babysitting
  2. Involve children for part of the time
  3. Involve children for all of the time

 Read more.

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Should We Have a Ton of Programs in Our Churches?

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Ray Ortlund (pastor at Immanuel Church in Nashville) and Darrin Patrick (pastor at the Journey Church in St. Louis) discuss whether it is wise to heavily invest in lots of different programs in churches:

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Practical Evangelism Tips

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Martin Salter, pastor at Grace Community Church in Bedford, UK, shares a summary of Tim Keller's tips for evangelism:

  1. Let people around you know you are a Christian (in a natural, unforced way)
  2. Ask friends about their faith – and just listen!
  3. Listen to your friends problems – maybe offer to pray for them
  4. Share your problems with others – testify to how your faith helps you
  5. Give them a book to read
  6. Share your story
  7. Answer objections and questions
  8. Invite them to a church event
  9. Offer to read the Bible with them
  10. Take them to an explore course [i.e. theology class]

Tim Keller advises practicing steps 1–4 with just about anyone and everyone and going further down the list with those that have interest in learning more about the gospel.  

At the Vine, mission is one of our three core values, and these steps are good guidelines for thinking about how we can be more available for sharing the good news of Jesus with the non-Christians in our daily lives.

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Loving Muslims through Prayer

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Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (falling on July 20th–August 18th in 2012), which Muslims around the world observe through fasting, acts of charity, and increased prayers.

Christians and Muslims have many common beliefs and values, but we don't need to pretend that there aren't many key differences between Islam and Christianity, particularly centered around the person of Jesus (Isa in Arabic).

As Ramadan is just in its beginning days for this year, join with us for the rest of the month in praying daily for Muslim people groups through the 30 Days Prayer Network.  

The site has a lot of information about different Muslim people groups around the world and their needs.  Particularly, let us pray for God's peace for all in these regions, the freedom to practice religion and engage in dialogue, and that people all around the world would come to know the true Isa (Jesus).

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Tags: muslims, ramadan

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